While messing around with the analysis of the KNeE tables
from the OSR style 5E Shadows of the Forgotten Kings (SotFK)
as I was considering how to improve the Indicara
jungle section of UK6 All that Glitters...,
I came to the conclusion that brilliant though the concept is, the table is difficult to fully appreciate in a static form - you really needed to see the randomly combining elements in action to truly appreciate their flexibility and how the design works in play.
But that requires a lot of dice-rolling (d8, d6, d4) and then much cross-referencing to determine all the elements (particularly if using the intercalated multiple biome tables from Under the Waterless Sea
), and then you would still need to collate these into the actual encounter.
I really didn't want to waste time doing that!
So I instead wasted time creating a Google Spreadsheet (and a derived Excel for Mac version) that uses the basic INDEX, RANDBETWEEN and IF functions to generate the "simple combination" encounters comprised of the d8 Where? / d6 What? / d4 Weird?
elements from a second data sheet containing the text corresponding to the various dice rolls:
|Example generated KNeE table simple result (Google Docs version)|
for Shadows of the Forgotten Kings (SotFK)
By going to File > Spreadsheet Settings... > Calculation and setting the spreadsheet to update "on change and every minute", the spreadsheet refreshes at a useful rate for use in game.
I then fiddled around with some more complicated IF based formulae to incorporate the special "specific" encounters eg. the "triples", "doubles", "sequentials" and "max" results so that if the randomised numbers produce one of these combinations, the appropriate text will appear below the "simple" combination, allowing the DM to reference the whole result easily:
Example generated KNeE table special result (Excel for Mac version)
for Shadows of the Forgotten Kings (SotFK)
Most of the "working out" is off to the right outside the screengrab of the calculating 1st sheet, but I've included the "dice roll" totals (all 3 dice, combinations) for further ease of use at the table as some of Zzacharov's entries base the number of creatures on such totals or further adjust the encounter if the result is "even", "odd" or ">, <, or =" to a particular dice roll total result.
Then I realised I could just paste in the relevant text from Gnomes of Levnec (GoL)
and the formulae should similarly work, so I did that and encountered an error as GoL
doesn't include "sequentials". A minor modification later and I had a working random KNeE table generator for that also:
Example generated KNeE table simple result (Google Docs version)
for Gnomes of Levnec (GoL)
From there it was simple enough to create a generic version (not shown) by just deleting the specific information from the Complex Data sheet, ready to replace with elements from either Under the Waterless Sea (UtWS)
or KNeE tables of my own devising for the All that Glisters... Project
|Generic KNeE Table Generator Data Sheet|
Exporting the spreadsheet as an Excel file allowed me to then "rapidly iterate" the results by clicking the "Calculate Now" button in the "Formulas" tab several times per minute
, enabling me to check that all the "specific" encounters worked properly and get an idea what some of the "simple" combinations looked like.
Due to the permutations of the "sequentials" being significantly higher than the other "specifics" (18/192 vs 7/192), those 4 encounters come up more often than I expected, but with multiple flavours due to the interaction with the randomised simple elements.
If I could work out how to screen record and embed the video that might give you a better idea.
Overall, I think the generators should prove useful and I wonder if there are some further refinements and tweaking I could build in to incorporate other random features or automatically displaying additional modifiers based on the various dice roll totals.
Downloadable KNeE Table Game Aids & Resources
Note: I have constructed these generators as Google Doc Spreadsheets for both GoL and SotFK (but not UTWS as it contains 3 different "biome" KNeE tables and would be a significant amount of work). However, I won't be posting them here without permission from Zzarchov as the generators contain significant amounts of actual module text (and potential spoilers!), but I'd be interested in linking them to a valid purchase of the PDF or hardcopy products somehow so they can be used.
The live generic spreadsheet
that calculates these results was embedded below but I've now removed it as it doesn't seem to display properly
- my blogging kung-fu
and HTML skills aren't sufficient to streamline this to look pretty, so any suggestions welcome just leave them in the comments below, comment on Google +, or otherwise contact me at The Ranting Savant (three words as all one word, lowercase) AT the use Google server address.
The spreadsheet contains only "generic" elements in the Data sheet eg "Location 2", "Encounter 4", "Modifier 1" instead of any module text but it does display "specific" encounter placeholders eg. "Triples 2", "Doubles 5", "Sequential 3-4-5" and "Total = 18 Max/Goal", when the random numbers would produce that result. If you want to use them with specific entries then just add the text to the relevant cells in the second sheet labelled "Complex KNeE Data".
, you can just use this link
opens the file in my Google Drive for viewing - the "KNeE Encounter Result" sheet is set to refresh/randomise every minute - you don't even have to roll dice!
I can provide the downloadable Generic KNeE Table generator (Excel version) upon request.
I'll likely generate at least two KNeE tables
for my rework of UK6, in which case it should be simple enough to create and link the resulting generators. In fact, I suspect the generators may help me refine and hone the tables from their original concepts and/or include "motivating verb" elements.